‘See me for who I really am’: Inside Nick Melvoin’s plan to win over L.A. parents and teachers
When Nick Melvoin unseated LA Unified school board President Steve Zimmer, teachers threatened to strike. Others worried about having to find a new job. A national reporter was surprised to learn in an interview that opponents were all wrong when they portrayed Melvoin as a Trump supporter. And there was palpable trepidation by a server who...
By Mike Szymanski | July 18, 2017
School board president says pay increase ‘will help all of us with our duties’
* UPDATED An independent city panel gave the LA Unified school board members a 174 percent raise on Monday night, from $45,627 to $125,000, but according to new board President Ref Rodriguez, it was an unexpected development. “This is a total surprise,” Rodriguez told LA School Report. “But it will help all of us with our...
By Mike Szymanski | July 12, 2017
Tears, applause, and hope set theme for 3 newly inducted school board members
Mónica García carried a little green alien with her as she took her seat after being inaugurated for a fourth term on the LA Unified school board. “It’s a little alien named ‘Z’ from my niece Maya, and it’s supposed to spread love and harmony and peace and calm,” Garcia said. (And it’s a social-emotional...
By Mike Szymanski | July 7, 2017
Ref Rodriguez is elected LAUSD board president and wins near-unanimous support for his ‘kids first’ resolution
The new members of the LA Unified school board were inducted Thursday, and the board’s first votes — on who would be their leader — broke along expected lines. The pro-reform majority exercised its muscle, voting 4-3 to elect as their president Ref Rodriguez, the co-founder one of LA’s largest charter school organizations. But immediately...
By Mike Szymanski | July 6, 2017
New LA Unified school board is marked by its diversity, but can they get along?
* UPDATED When the new board is inducted on Thursday, it will kick off the longest period of time that all seven board members will be working together — a full three and a half years — in the entire 164-year history of the largest school district in the country that has an elected board. But...
By Mike Szymanski | July 5, 2017
LAUSD approves $7.5 billion budget under cloud of declining enrollment and future cuts
The LA Unified school board on Tuesday approved a $7.5 billion budget for the 2017-18 school year even as some board members expressed frustrations about declining enrollment and future cuts that might come as the board faces budget deficits. Spending has increased from the 2016-17 school year by 6.7 percent, while revenues have declined by...
By Sarah Favot | June 20, 2017
LAUSD reassigns 943 employees, laying off 114, mostly library aides
In an effort to stave off a pending budget deficit, the LA Unified school board agreed Tuesday to reassign 943 classified employees, laying off 114 of them. These reduction-in-force notices are in addition to 115 administrative layoffs that are expected to be finalized by the end of the month. The latest RIF notices include accounting, financial...
By Mike Szymanski | June 20, 2017
LAUSD to charter schools: You’re not allowed in our new unified enrollment system
* UPDATED LA Unified is going to get its first phase of a unified enrollment system, but board members held up authorizing the cash for it until they added a stipulation that specifically excludes independent charter schools for at least two years. After a long and animated discussion at Tuesday’s meeting, the board — which...
By Mike Szymanski | June 14, 2017
In surprise move, LAUSD board extends superintendent’s contract through 2020; Mónica García objects
In a surprise move during Tuesday’s closed session, LA Unified Superintendent Michelle King had her contract extended through June 30, 2020, even though her contract wasn’t up for renewal until next year. The lone dissent came from board member Mónica García who objected because it didn’t give the new pro-reform majority a chance to review...
By Mike Szymanski | June 14, 2017
Passion project resolutions, budget overview, and new charter schools: What’s up for LAUSD’s board on Tuesday
It’s the last regular LA Unified school board meeting before two newcomers are sworn in next month, and it’s a full agenda that includes some pet project resolutions, new charter schools, and a look at the district budget. The school board going to hear details of the new budget, which will be voted on at a...
By Mike Szymanski | June 9, 2017